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Quieter when octave key depressed.

rotate

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Complete beginner. When the octave key is pressed the alto saxophone gets a lot quieter.

Is this meant to happen? If so, do you compensate by blowing harder or by, say, pushing the mouthpiece further into the mouth; or both? Or what? Hope this makes sense. Thanks any help.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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There's usually a difference in the sound as well as the pitch, but it shouldn't really get quieter.
 

TomMapfumo

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I've never noticed a change in volume, pitch or other stuff particularly. I think you probably need to anticipate the change a little and adjust your embouchure so that the sound is as consistent as possible, but there may be something about your octave keys that need adjusting (I say keys as there is one in addition to the one which we normally think of as the octave key - just a bit further up the sax; have a look when you press the keys at G and above!) as there may be a slight problem - such as a blocked or ill fitting key.

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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By pitch change, I meant the jump from one register to another.

If the upper register is quiet, it may be the way other keys are set up. Suggest you get it checked by your teacher, or a technician.
 

rotate

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If the upper register is quiet, it may be the way other keys are set up. Suggest you get it checked by your teacher, or a technician.
Yes, I'd better get a teacher. Not getting far on my own.

"(I say keys as there is one in addition to the one which we normally think of as the octave key - just a bit further up the sax; have a look when you press the keys at G and above!)" - TomMapfumo, you appear to use the oposite up/down sign convention to me.:) The notes of the right hand are particularly badly quiet. Instrument feels blocked.

If play the crook without the sax on it, no note with octave key and feels blocked up.

Any road I'll see a teacher.
 

TomMapfumo

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Hi there!

If you want to find a teacher try www.musicteachers.co.uk which should have details of teachers in your neck of the woods. It is also best that you find someone whose main instrument is the sax, not just a load of other instruments as well. Finding a good teacher is a great feeling and can be such an encouragement.......:w00t:;}

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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I can't remember if you told us which sax/mouthpice/reed you're using, but if you're using a chinese sax, with the standard mouthpiece, the mouthpiece can cause a lot of problems. A good beginner mouthpiece doesn't have to be expensive - ty the ico gaftonite B5, with a 1.5 or 2 reed for instance.

I wouldn't worry too much about the neck only having no sound with the octave vent open, as long as you can get a sound out of the mouthpiece alone.

It would also be worth checking that there's nothing blocking the body.
 

TomMapfumo

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5,219
Or even the Rico Graftonite B5 mouthpiece...............................!;}

Best price I've found is at www.rapidreeds.com which sell them for £12.71 inc. P&P - both Kev and I have them and they are very good pieces (would be good at £60 plus).

Always the same with saxes - often takes a while to get fully up and running.

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 

rotate

Member
Messages
49
I can't remember if you told us which sax/mouthpice/reed you're using, but if you're using a chinese sax, with the standard mouthpiece, the mouthpiece can cause a lot of problems. A good beginner mouthpiece doesn't have to be expensive - ty the ico gaftonite B5, with a 1.5 or 2 reed for instance.
Thanks.

Quote from Rico:
Chamber:
A: Large - darkest sound
B:Medium - moderate brilliance
C: Small - most brilliant sound
Don't know what I'm talking about but "darkest sound" sounds the nicest to me. Alright to get an A5? However if it is harder to play than a B5, even only slightly harder to play, then B5 is the thing.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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The Ricos are easy to play. And inexpensive. Start with a B chamber, and consider a 3 tip opening instead of the 5 if you're worried. It's easy to move up and over here these things often go on ebay for 70% of the new price (crazy!!!, especially when you take postage into account). Tip openings aren't about being macho - it's about what suits you, and many people find it easier to start of small and work up. Others of course start large...
 

TomMapfumo

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5,219
At £12.71 a throw I'd recommend that you give the A5 a go! You could always get the B5 as well if there is a need.......
The only issue might be that a larger chamber may require slightly more puff (may not), but the tip is the more important thing, and that it is a proven mouthpiece!

Kind regards
Tom:cool:

You'll never know until you know..............;}
 

rotate

Member
Messages
49
I've got a B3 and I'm still struggling. Rico says B3's are for hard reads, I'm using 2's. I'll cogitate on whether a A5 or B5. After all a book says you should have 3 and keep picking the best.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Let's not try and fix too many things at once. I don't think changing the chamber will help.

You're still struggling with a B3, with a No2 reed. Is the struggling still the volume change?
Do you change your embouchure/blowing to get the higher notes with the octave key pressed?

First thought is that you need to get the sax checked. Before you go completely crazy. Lots of things stem from leaks.

You should be pretty much able to press the octave key and the sax should shift up an octave, with only a little change in the way you blow, possibly a touch more lip, but not a lot.

Assuming the sax is OK, a slightly harder reed may help. It's worth going up half a step at a time. And stick to the same type of reed - different brands have differing strengths for the same number, and within the brand different reed types blow differently. Given what you've said I wouldn't change mouthpiece at the moment. Check the sax... And if you can, get teh person who checks it to play it while you listen. Then you know what to expect.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
My main Alto pieces are a Ponzol Vintage HR 0.070" (same as B3) and Ponzol Vintage HR 0.085" (between B5 and B7 in tip opening) I play both with 2.5 reeds, and probably find the larger tip opening easier/more free blowing than the smaller tip opening.

It may be that a 5 (0.080) tip may be easier to blow, but agree with KG that it is best to check the sax as a priority......
Kind regards
Tom:cool:

If you get the A5 and it doesn't work for you I can swap it for my B5 if it is a help. Also you may need to make sure that your ligature is not too tight when you play.....
 

rotate

Member
Messages
49
Let's not try and fix too many things at once. I don't think changing the chamber will help.

You're still struggling with a B3, with a No2 reed. Is the struggling still the volume change?
Do you change your embouchure/blowing to get the higher notes with the octave key pressed?

First thought is that you need to get the sax checked. Before you go completely crazy. Lots of things stem from leaks.

You should be pretty much able to press the octave key and the sax should shift up an octave, with only a little change in the way you blow, possibly a touch more lip, but not a lot.

Assuming the sax is OK, a slightly harder reed may help. It's worth going up half a step at a time. And stick to the same type of reed - different brands have differing strengths for the same number, and within the brand different reed types blow differently. Given what you've said I wouldn't change mouthpiece at the moment. Check the sax... And if you can, get teh person who checks it to play it while you listen. Then you know what to expect.
Tried a two and a half reed and things improved, can't say if it's down to the reed or coincidence or something. Always got on best with this reed even with the previous Chinese mouthpiece. For a short time got a lovely breathy sound. Fiddling about with the positioning of the reed and ligature on the mouthpiece appeared to make big differences.

I'll get a teacher. The main problem is it has a lot of resistance to blowing when the octave key is depressed particularly with the lower, right hand notes. However by fiddling about with the reed's position on the mouthpiece and embouchure and so on could occasionally get much freer blowing, so perhaps wrong technique is what is doing it - tried blowing a low note then pressing the octave key without any change and sometimes did not get the difficult blowing.

Quote from TomMapfumo
Also you may need to make sure that your ligature is not too tight when you play.....
Tightening or loosening the ligature screw nearest the mouth does not appear to make a difference of any kind at all. Rico ligature with Rico mouthpiece.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
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3,011
When I started on tenor I soon had a sound, in the lower register, that I loved. The second register on the other hand sounded awful, like a different instrument in fact. The sound improved over time, and it could be that what you are experiencing is the normal difference between the registers.

Jim.
 
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